Separate benefit bill 2.0 makes debut

 - 
Friday, May 3, 2019

WASHINGTON – An updated bill to create a separate benefit within Medicare for complex rehab technology—a long-time goal of stakeholders—has been introduced in the House of Representatives.

Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., along with Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., introduced H.R. 2408, a bill that would allow for targeted coverage and payment policies for CRT, on April 30, the day before the National CRT Leadership and Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C.

“People ask, ‘What do we need to do to get these bills passed and get them done with,’ and my quick answer is, ‘We need more,’” said Don Clayback, executive director of NCART during his opening address at the conference. “We need more people contacting members of Congress and we need more diligent follow-up. We need to stay on them.”

Stakeholders first got a bill introduced to create a separate benefit back in 2011, and they’ve been at it nearly every year since, including last year with H.R. 750, a bill also introduced by Sensenbrenner that garnered support from 116 co-sponsors. A companion bill in the Senate drew 19 co-sponsors.

The updated bill would designate certain existing codes as CRT and would allow for the creation of new codes specific to CRT. It would also increase supplier standards to include an ATP plus “enhanced credential” and a repair capability requirement, according to information shared at the conference.

Moreover, the bill would eliminate the “in-the-home” requirement for CRT and add functional considerations.

The ITEM Coalition’s Peter Thomas said at the conference that the legislation would “go a long way” toward “solving a lot of problems” with the CRT benefit, but the elimination of the “in-the-home requirement,” which restricts coverage for mobility devices to those used in the home, would be huge.

“The CRT population is one that really wants and needs to live their lives outside of their homes,” said Thomas, an attorney who coordinates policy for the coalition.

Stakeholders are looking for senators to champion a companion bill to H.R. 2408.